Explaining Movement and Countermovement Events in the Contemporary U.S. Women’s Movement
34 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2010
Date Written: August 30, 2010
While feminist movements have been the subject of careful scholarly research, there has been less attention to the study of countermovements – those movements that arise in opposition to feminist movements (but see Schreiber 2008; Staggenborg and Meyer; Staggenborg 1989, 1991). Such movements are not just important in their own right but because they engage in interactive struggles with feminist movements, affecting women’s movements’ mobilization and ability to affect policy (Staggenborg and Meyer; Staggenborg 1989, 1991). In this paper we examine the causes of movement and countermovement mobilization (in the form of highly visible events), focusing specifically on the relationship between feminist and anti-feminist movements in the United States. We examine the effect that movement and countermovement have on each other and examine how political opportunities, gender opportunities and policy success affect each. In addition to analyzing overall movement and countermovement mobilization, we also examine two specific campaigns associated with these movements: abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment. Using quarterly time series of the number of events sponsored by feminist and anti-feminist movements as our dependent variable, we find that countermovement mobilization is less influenced by movement events than vice versa. We also find significant differences between the abortion and ERA campaigns suggesting that campaign level characteristics also affect movement mobilization.
Keywords: feminism, social movements, women, gender, event data
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